Technician Error Suspected in Ethiopian 787 Gear Collapse

 - March 10, 2016, 11:26 AM
Ethiopian Airlines has 13 Boeing 787s in its fleet and 8 more on order.

The investigation into a March 3 nose gear collapse on an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787-8 is pointing toward human error by technicians as the likely cause. The Dreamliner (tail number ET-AHS), which was operating as Flight ET-702 from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to Rome, had completed boarding and was just about to push back when the gear collapsed. One flight attendant received minor injuries and the aircraft incurred substantial damage.

A senior official with the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority told AIN that the accident was caused by human error. The official said experts with the ECAA Accident Prevention and Investigation Bureau collected data and conducted interviews with the 787 crew and technicians who were working on the airplane. “The cause of the accident is already known but it will take two weeks to summarize the report,” the official said, declining to give further details.

Ethiopian Airlines refrained from making any official statement. However, a senior executive with the flagcarrier told AIN that the incident was caused by a technical failure. The executive said that Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines’ maintenance division also are investigating the accident. Boeing has a field office at the airline’s headquarters in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian Airlines is a launch customer of Dreamliner aircraft, the third airline in the world next to Air Nippon and Japan Airlines, to own and operate the widebody. It was the first African carrier to take delivery of the 787 in August 2012. Currently, Ethiopian operates 13 787-8 aircraft and it has six 787-8s and two 787-9s on its order book.